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It is time to start Planning your Garden for the Spring . Here some good garden books and garden items for you .

The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: Planting and Pruning Techniques
With more than 130,000 copies sold since its original publication, The Well-Tended Perennial Garden has proven itself to be one of the most useful tools a gardener can have. Now, in this expanded edition, there's even more to learn from and enjoy. This is the first, and still the most thorough, book to detail essential practices of perennial care such as deadheading, pinching, cutting back, thinning, disbudding, and deadleafing, all of which are thoroughly explained and illustrated. More than 200 new color photographs have been added to this revised edition, showing perennials in various border situations and providing images for each of the entries in the A-to-Z encyclopedia of important perennial species. In addition, there is a new 32-page journal section, in which you can enter details, notes, and observations about the requirements and performance of perennials in your own garden. Thousands of readers have commented that The Well-Tended Perennial Garden is one of the most useful and frequently consulted books in their gardening libraries. This new, expanded edition promises to be an even more effective ally in your quest to create a beautiful, healthy, well-maintained perennial garden.
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a thoroughly updated and fresh-looking 8th edition of the "bible of Western gardening." With a new, easy-to-read design, more plant photography, larger illustrations, and more than 8,000 plant listings--500 of them new--it's THE essential book for gardeners in the Western states. What plants to grow, how to nurture them, and where they do the very best--it's all here. You'll also find updated information on the Western climate zones, 30 Plant Selection Guides, plus a Practical Guide to Gardening with basic advice on plant care and essential gardening techniques. New plant lists reflect current trends, such as Mediterranean gardening and easy-care plants for beginners. For more than 70 years, Sunset has been the source for no-nonsense gardening advice, easy-to-follow diagrams, and encyclopedic knowledge of plant varieties. In this edition, we introduce an exciting new feature: gardening tips from well-known plant experts throughout the West. The Western Garden Book has never been better!
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Growing Mini Roses Indoors

(Family Features) - Kathy Bond-Borie, Guest Columnist - Even though the weather has turned cold and we've put our garden roses to bed for the winter, that doesn't mean we have to be rose-deprived until spring. Miniature roses adapt quite well to life indoors. They are a bit more particular about light and humidity than some indoor flowering plants, but they will reward the extra effort with stunning flowers that come in a wide range of colors.

For the most part, miniature roses are scaled-down versions of full-sized roses, and while they vary in many ways, all mini roses have small, rarely fragrant flowers. Plants can range from micro-minis (5 inches or less) to 3 to 4 feet or even larger. Flowers can be anywhere from 1/2 to 2 inches across, with a color range as broad as for full-size roses.

Mini roses need plenty of bright light, such as in a bright west- or south-facing window. But for repeat bloom, you'll need the supplementary light provided by fluorescent tubes. Also provide some extra humidity around the plants because indoor air is typically quite dry. Set plants in a water-filled tray on a layer of pebbles, or use a room humidifier. If humidity is too low, the leaves will shrivel, turn yellow, and drop. Here are some other tips:

  1. Buy new plants each season to ensure that your plants are free of diseases and pests. Choose varieties that are short and especially floriferous.
  2. Fertilize weekly with a fertilizer diluted to one-quarter strength. To encourage blooms, use a fertilizer with a formula high in potassium, such as 5-5-10.
  3. Watch carefully for any sign of pests. Spray whiteflies with a lightweight horticultural oil. If spider mites become a problem, wash plants thoroughly every 2 to 3 days. For a severe infestation of spider mites, strip all leaves and cut the plant back by half. Healthy new growth will emerge rapidly.
  4. Use a commercial potting mixture containing perlite and vermiculite when repotting. 
  5. When flowering has finished, place plants under fluorescent lights to encourage reblooming in about six weeks.
  6. After the last frost in spring, gradually acclimate plants to outdoor air. Plant them in the garden or in an outdoor container.

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A former floral designer and interior plantscaper, Kathy Bond-Borie has spent 20 years as a garden writer/editor, including her current role as Horticultural Editor for the National Gardening Association. She loves designing with plants, and spends more time playing in the garden - planting and trying new combinations - than sitting and appreciating it.

National Gardening Association

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Gardening With Charlie - Fencing Out Critters

(Family Features) - Kathy Bond-Borie, Guest Columnist - Building a fence to keep animals out of your garden is not something to be taken lightly, but it may be the only way to put an end to the feasting of marauding critters. One groundhog can make your broccoli patch disappear overnight. One deer can cut your perennials down to nubs in the same amount of time. A neighborhood cat can turn your garden into a litter box.

Since animals have their own particular habits, it can be hard to find a one-size-fits-all solution, so focus on the animals causing the most damage. Here are some ideas for foiling some of the common animals that like to help themselves to our gardens.

Since deer can jump, a fence needs to be high and at an angle to deter them. One effective option is an 8- to 10-foot-tall fence slanted at a 45-degree angle toward the direction from which deer are most likely to come. It will make them think twice about jumping. Keep the fence snug to the ground, since deer can also wiggle under fences. Electric fences baited with peanut butter and solid fences that block the view to a food source also work well.

Cats and Dogs
Build a wire mesh fence 3 feet high anchored with sturdy posts. Cats probably won't climb over, and most dogs can't knock it over. Bend the base of the fence outward to form a 2-foot-wide apron along the ground to discourage dogs from digging under it.

Exclude rabbits with a 2-foot-tall chicken wire fence that has 1-inch-diameter holes. To prevent them from digging under, curve the bottom of the fence 90 degrees to create an apron a foot or so wide, and bury it several inches deep.

Woodchucks are good climbers, so leave the top 18 inches of a 4-foot-tall fence unattached, or string electric wire across the top to discourage these pests. The fence should also have a 2-foot-wide apron buried a few inches below the soil to stop the pests from burrowing under the fence. Electric fencing placed a few inches outside a wire fence also helps.

Tunneling Critters: Gophers, Chipmunks, Moles
These subterranean travelers have the advantage of being out of sight most of the time, so they can do their dirty work of munching your plants undetected. In winter they move beneath the snow and gnaw the bark of young tree trunks, and you often don't discover the damage until spring. If your garden is plagued by any of these tunneling creatures, you can create cages or baskets to protect prized plants. Dig a 2- to 3-foot-deep hole in the planting area and line the sides and bottom of the bed with wire mesh. Replace the soil and plant your garden.

Protect tree trunks with wire mesh guards placed a few inches below the soil line and 2 feet up the trunk. Check the guards in the spring and fall, adjusting them to make room for tree growth and to be sure they are securely fastened.

For more tips and garden information visit

A former floral designer and interior plantscaper, Kathy Bond-Borie has spent 20 years as a garden writer/editor, including her current role as Horticultural Editor for the National Gardening Association. She loves designing with plants, and spends more time playing in the garden - planting and trying new combinations - than sitting and appreciating it.

National Gardening Association

McGee & Stuckey's Bountiful Container: Create Container Gardens of Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, and Edible Flowers
With few exceptions-such as corn and pumpkins-everything edible that's grown in a traditional garden can be raised in a container. And with only one exception-watering-container gardening is a whole lot easier. Beginning with the down-to-earth basics of soil, sun and water, fertilizer, seeds and propagation, The Bountiful Container is an extraordinarily complete, plant-by-plant guide...
Written by two seasoned container gardeners and writers, The Bountiful Container covers Vegetables-not just tomatoes (17 varieties) and peppers (19 varieties), butharicots verts, fava beans, Thumbelina carrots, Chioggia beets, and sugarsnap peas. Herbs, from basil to thyme, and including bay leaves, fennel, and saffron crocus. Edible Flowers, such as begonias, calendula, pansies, violets, and roses. And perhaps most surprising, Fruits, including apples, peaches, Meyer lemons, blueberries, currants, and figs-yes, even in the colder parts of the country. (Another benefit of container gardening: You can bring the less hardy perennials in over the winter.) There are theme gardens (an Italian cook's garden, a Four Seasons garden), lists of sources, and dozens of sidebars on everything from how to be a human honeybee to seeds that are All America Selections.
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AeroGrow AeroGarden Garden Kit, Black
he AeroGarden is a revolutionary kitchen appliance that grows delicious garden-fresh herbs, lettuce, tomatoes, chilies and more year-round, right on the kitchen counter with no dirt, now weeds, no mess and no green thumb needed. The AeroGarden uses NASA-tested aeroponic technology to provide plants and a perfect balance of water, nutrients and oxygen for healthy, delicious food, ready at your fingertips as you prepare meals. Simply add water, drop in the pre-seeded grow plugs, turn it on and watch it grow - up to 5 times faster than growing in soil. Harvest lettuce and basil in as little as 3 weeks and continue to harvest for 6 months or more with one planting. Germination is 100% guaranteed.
The world's first kitchen garden appliance. Grows fresh, delicious herbs, tomatoes, salad greens and more. No dirt, no mess, no green thumb needed. Each unit contains "plug'n grow" seed pots, built in glow lights, aeroponic optimizing chamber and computerized smart garden technology.
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All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!
Do you know what the best feature is in All New Square Foot Gardening?...
Sure, there are ten new features in this all-new, updated book. Sure, it's even simpler than it was before. Of course, you don't have to worry about fertilizer or poor soil ever again because you'll be growing above the ground..... <>But, the best feature is that anyone, anywhere can enjoy a Square Foot garden. Children, adults with limited mobility, even complete novices can achieve spectacular results...
But, let's get back to the ten improvements. You're going to love them.
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 Household Hints
More Handy Hints
Herbs and Spices
Herbal Remedies
Easy Recipes

Gardening With Charlie - Growing Mint

(Family Features) - Kathy Bond-Borie, Guest Columnist - The mint family offers a mouthwatering array of different types, such as pineapple mint, chocolate mint, apple mint, orange mint, not to mention spearmint and peppermint. With these refreshing scents and flavors to enhance your cooking, add to beverages, and use in potpourris, mint can be an indispensable plant.

In addition, bumblebees and other pollinators are attracted to the delicate flowers that appear in mid- to late summer. Some varieties even sport variegated foliage for added interest in the herb garden.

Mint's only downside is it will take over your garden if it gets half a chance. But you can contain its exuberance and keep it close at hand by growing mint in pots. And I do mean "pots" plural. With the array of varieties, it can be hard to choose just one. Or you can confine mint in a garden bed with edging of metal or plastic. Bury the edging to a depth of 14 inches around the perimeter of the mint patch.

A Sampling of Mints for Your Garden

Spearmint (Mentha spicata), with its slightly sweet flavor, makes a refreshing tea, and can be used to highlight flavors in a fruit salad, or to add to new potatoes or grain pilaf. It's the mint of mint jelly, and is a key ingredient in mint juleps. Plants grow 2 to 3 feet tall, with pale pink or white blooms appearing in mid to late summer.

Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) is more pungent than spearmint, growing to 3 feet tall, with pinkish lavender flowers. It's a common ingredient in teas, especially for soothing the stomach.

Corsican mint (Mentha requienii) is a ground-hugging mint that prefers shade. It drapes over a container or weaves in between stepping-stones or in a stone wall.

Growing and Harvesting Mints

Most mints can be started from seed, with the exception of peppermint, which is propagated by cuttings. Choose a sunny location (except for Corsican mint) with moderately fertile, humusy soil. Use a light mulch to retain moisture and keep leaves clean. Most mints are hardy to zone 3 or 4; Corsican mint is hardy to zone 6 so treat it as an annual in colder regions.

Once plants are growing vigorously, you can harvest young or mature leaves. Don't be afraid to cut the plants back frequently to promote fresh growth. Use fresh leaves in cooking or dry mint leaves on trays or by hanging bunched branches upside down in a warm, dark, well-ventilated area.

For more tips and garden information visit

A former floral designer and interior plantscaper, Kathie Bond-Borie has spent 20 years as a garden writer/editor, including her current role as Horticultural Editor for the National Gardening Association. She loves designing with plants, and spends more time playing in the garden - planting and trying new combinations - than sitting and appreciating it.

National Gardening Association

Step 2 Garden Hopper Mobile Garden Stool and Storage
As any gardener knows, even the best-laid plans for spending a day with the soil can be ruined by the necessity for repeated trips to the house or shed for the proper equipment. With the Step 2 Garden Hopper, however, it's possible to pack everything you need for a full day's gardening and take it all wherever you go. The Garden Hopper features an extremely sturdy seat that's just high enough to offer a comfortable perch yet low enough to keep you close to your garden. While a molded carrying handle is included within the seat itself, the Hopper's 7-inch wheels make it simple to scoot about without rising. With its sturdy double-wall construction, the Garden Hopper is strong enough to take a lot of rugged treatment. Beneath the seat is a large storage space, perfect for holding your gloves, tools, seeds, cellular phone, and other accessories you may need. In addition, this handy garden helper includes a built-in holder for a 12-ounce beverage, eliminating the need to run back into the house for refreshment. The Garden Hopper measures about 14 inches tall, 12.5 inches wide, and about 22 inches long.  Click Here for more!